The European Commission last week published the 'Fitness Check' evaluation of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives (the 'Nature Directives') and concluded that, within the framework of broader EU biodiversity policy, they remain highly relevant and are fit for purpose.
However, full achievement of the objectives of the Nature Directives will depend on substantial improvement in their implementation in close partnership with local authorities and different stakeholders in the Member States to deliver practical results on the ground for nature, people and the economy in the EU.
The Fitness Check of the EU Nature Directive the Commission services have assessed the performance of the Birds and Habitats Directives against five criteria: relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and EU added value. This includes examining implementation and integration successes and problems, the costs of implementation and non-implementation of the legislation, the administrative burden of implementation, and the opportunities to reduce it, while ensuring the objectives of the Directives continue to be met. This retrospective exercise considers what has worked well or poorly, and compares actual performance to earlier expectations.
The evaluation has shown that the general objectives of the Directives have not yet been met and it is not possible to predict when they will be fully achieved since a very high proportion of species and habitat types protected under the Directive are still in an unfavourable conservation status, some of which are continuing to decline or remain endangered.
The full text of the fitness check document can be found here: